Continued from https://shawnsmallstories.com/an-amazon-adventure-part-i/
A few days downriver, we stayed in the small village of Oran. The village mayor greeted us as special guests and allowed us to set up our tents on his elevated porch. The deck, like the rest of the houses in Oran, sat on stilts ten feet off the ground, leaving a cool space under the home in the daytime while the porch above kept the creepy crawlers at bay at night. We wandered through the handful of small stores around the village square, providing enough hullabaloo to bring out a few dozen villagers eager to chat. After a supper of stew, an inedible fish head floated staring at me as I sipped the broth. I headed to the only place in the village where one could use the bathroom in semi-privacy. A raised structure, within eyeshot of a dozen stilted homes, stood in a swampy clearing reeking of human waste. The 10 x 10 platform was surrounded by a courtesy curtain, giving the user a blind to do their business in private.
As I walked up to the platform, I saw a few families gather on the surrounding porches. I was undoubtedly the first white man to use this facility and, by far, the biggest human to take advantage of the community commode. I stood in front of two wide planks creating a ramp up to the curtained platform. I stepped on the first plank, and it splintered like dried pasta. The old board, encumbered with swamp rot, had rejected my girth with gusto. Looking back, I should have searched for an alternative privy, but my bowels gave me no quarter. I gingerly placed a foot on the next plank and pushed down. Convinced it was solid, I climbed up to the platform. Built out of several pieces of oddly mismatched timber, it sat approximately six feet above the waste field below. A small square was cut out of the middle of the floor. I stared through the hole and peered into the bowels of hell. Below me, humanity’s waste swarmed with nature’s coprophagia.
Feeling confident in my curtained concealment, I disrobed all clothing except my shirt. Straddling barefoot over the hole, I moved into a squatting position and attempted to put myself into a Zen state to finish the necessaries as quickly as possible.
I heard what sounded like a gunshot. I looked to the left. Halfway between the squatter’s hole and the platform’s edge, the middle board began to split. Again, another CRACK. Turning, I saw the board on the right do the same as the left. A fracture was forming down the center of the rotten boards I was standing on, heading both outward to the edge of the platform and inward toward my feet. And it was happening fast. With little time to deliberate, I had to move or be waist-deep in deep waste. I grabbed my sandals and tossed them through the curtain. Scooping up my pants and underwear, I barely had time to make one giant leap before the entire platform collapsed. I must have looked like a failed Superman as I hit the ground with a tremendous ‘thump.’
Lying face down on the spongy ground, I kept an iron-tight grip on the long damp grasses outlying my body. My huge white bum was there for all the locals to gawk at. The pit, barely a body’s length behind me, erupted in an amorphous cloud of dung and disease poking at my bare feet. More than a dozen men, women, and children stood watching me, awestruck at what they had just witnessed. Silence permeated the air before they broke into uncontrollable, contagious laughter. As I began to put on my clothes, I whispered a thank you to the One-Beyond-All for fulfilling the outlandish longings of a thirteen-year-old boy who sat in the front row of Raiders of the Lost Ark thirty years ago.